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Kane County plans traffic roundabout

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

CAMPTON HILLS – Kane County motorists soon could drive in semi-circles at one of western Kane’s busier intersections.

Kane County transportation planners are putting the finishing touches on plans to improve the intersection of Burlington Road and Route 47.

But rather than outfitting the intersection with turn lanes and red lights, county highway officials are planning something different: Kane County’s first true roundabout intersection.

Planners from the Kane County Division of Transportation have for years sought to improve the busy intersection at the northwest edge of the village of Campton Hills. As traffic at the intersection increased through the years, so too did accidents. Eventually, the Illinois Department of Transportation installed stop signs on Route 47 at the intersection.

While that made the intersection safer, it also increased congestion and delays, KDOT officials said.

Steve Coffinbarger, assistant director of transportation at KDOT, said his agency initially looked at improving the intersection the “traditional” way, with turn lanes and traffic lights.

But KDOT determined that idea would require “a lot of additional pavement” and the need to acquire land and spend significantly more money than the road department wanted.

After examining alternatives, Coffinbarger said KDOT, working in partnership with IDOT, settled on a plan for a roundabout. He said the roundabout would improve safety, save money and reduce congestion, all thanks to its shape.

While common in other states, roundabouts are scarce locally. When the project is completed, it would be the first such roundabout in Kane County, Coffinbarger said.

Under the proposal, traffic essentially would be fed around a large circle, with oncoming traffic yielding to those already in the circle.

“You can only turn to the right, so everyone flows in the same counterclockwise direction,” Coffinbarger said.

That will, in turn, sharply reduce the potential for high-speed collisions.

Also, the county expects the roundabout design would save the county about $1 million compared to the cost of the traditional intersection design.

Coffinbarger said the $2.1 million project will be covered largely by federal and state money, with the county chipping in about $674,000. He said the work could begin in spring and completed by fall.

Coffinbarger said he could not predict if the county would need to close the intersection to complete the work.

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